Back home in Chicago, here’s what Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville had to say following the team’s morning skate in advance of tonight’s Game 5 vs. the LA Kings…
Q. Patrick Kane said you’re treating it as a Game 7.
“I think it’s an important game for us. I think we want to make sure we establish a good start here and try to dictate pace and try to play with the tempo we had in three of the four games. Can’t look any further forward than today’s game where we want to play our best.”
Q. Having been down 3-1, what is going on in their locker room now?
“I’m sure they’re talking about different things, looking at the situation. But, you know, we know what they’re capable of doing. They’ve proven in the past they can win. It’s up to us to do what we have to do and control what we can control. That’s just a strong start and going from there.”
Q. You’ve talked before about Krueger and Frolik, the job they’ve done on the PK, the way that alleviates minutes from other top players. Is that by design specifically for lockout shortened season or something you’ve always tried to do?
“I think more so this year. I think probably started out as a lockout, knowing we wanted to make sure we maxed out, try to get everybody involved in the game, keep the top guys rested a little bit more. Such tight games between days, I should say. It worked well. So we’ve gone with it. We’ll see.”
Q. Patrick Kane was saying he got a lot of feedback from people, but coaches here especially. He found more will for Game 4. How do you coach that?
“I think everybody internally has ways of getting themselves excited to play. Top guys usually find ways to motivate themselves. That’s what makes them special. They want to be the best they can be every single day. Different challenges, how they get them selves excited. I talked to Kaner the day before. He said he’s going to find a way to get it done. He wanted the puck, had it more, was more effective in his game as well.”
Q. Your tie with Handzus, was it easy to integrate him? Did you envision him to be in the role when you acquired him?
“Honestly, probably not. I thought he could give us some depth. He could play in a situation where he could take faceoffs. See how he handles being a 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th forward. He gives us experience, great team guy. And then late in the year, Bolly was hurt, he got an opportunity to get a little bit more ice time. Late in the year he got a chance to play with Sharpie and Kaner. Looked like he belonged there. So it was a nice discovery there as well. One thing you love about Handy, you love the consistency of his game and the way he prepares himself and what he brings to the team.”
Q. When you made the switch to put Patrick with Toews and Bickell, did you see something early in the game from Kane to make that switch or did you see something from Hossa?
“We didn’t mind the way we were playing in the game. I think we talked about going into the game, we could do that if we don’t like things, but we just didn’t get enough offense. We still thought the way we were playing was the right way. We were fortunate to score right off the bat. I know it seemed to work. It was a situation where maybe you get a little bit more balance, something they got to look at, they may want to change their matchups. When it’s not going well, you’re behind, you don’t mind trying things.”
Additional notes and quotes from the 2013 Western Conference Final can be found at the links below. We’ll also have morning comments from the LA Kings up in the next hour.
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